Employees in British Columbia are protected from discriminatory treatment, victimization and bullying in the workplace. WorkSafeBC mandates that employers must ban bullying and harassment of workers by colleagues and supervisors. Bullying and harassment can take on many forms.
The Workers' Compensation Act of British Columbia mandates that employers are responsible for protecting the health and safety of employees. The well-being of workers can be adversely affected even if they witnessed a traumatic event but were not physically injured. In these cases, workers may be concerned about their ability to make a successful claim for compensation for medical esxpenses without suffering a visible workplace injury.
The director of a Canadian concussion centre recently said that, contrary to popular belief, teachers face significant risks of concussion. More and more teachers in British Columbia and across Canada report head trauma suffered in accidents in classrooms and during recess. Some teachers who experience this type of workplace injury are left with symptoms that are long lasting and debilitating.
Workers in British Columbia are entitled to financial assistance through the employer's WorkSafeBC insurance coverage. Coverage may extend to workplace injury caused by one event, as well as progressive conditions that result from exposure to chemicals or repetitive motions in a person's line of work over extended periods.
Most workers find comfort in knowing that a workers' compensation program exists that will likely cover their medical expenses and lost wages if they should suffer workplace injuries. However, it is not unusual for companies to be based in British Columbia and send work crews on assignments in other provinces or territories. Such workers may have questions about their rights to benefits if they should fall victim to work-related accidents while working outside the province.
Workers in British Columbia who are exposed to hazardous or toxic substances in their workplaces might nor even notice the gradual damage this exposure causes to their health. In many cases, by the time workers are diagnosed with occupational diseases, the condition is already severe. Although workers' compensation covers work-related illnesses, they may be more difficult to prove for claims purposes than other workplace injuries.
Many employers in British Columbia look to to employ young, inexperienced workers who are eager to prove themselves and keen to learn. However, not all business owners realize that young workers may also be distracted, with many non-work-related matters on their minds. As young workers acclimatize to the workplace, employers may find that they must spend more time training young workers on workplace safety than they would with older, more seasoned workers.
In June this year, a standing committee of the House of Commons tabled a report with several recommendations to address violence aimed at health care workers in British Columbia and across Canada. For decades, violence-related workplace injury victims had to handle it as par for the course, and the aim is to put a stop to that mindset. A report by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union indicates that over 60% of nurses say they have been victims of harassment, assault and abuse while on duty.
While workers' compensation obligations are par for the course for British Columbia businesses with permanent employees, they also give rise to many questions for those who hire contractors or subcontractors. Who will be liable if a subcontractor suffers a workplace injury? Business owners can avoid having to pay additional insurance premiums by obtaining a clearance letter from WorkSafeBC that states whether the contractor is registered and paying workers' compensation premiums itself.
According to WorkSafeBC, activities on road construction sites in British Columbia increase significantly during the spring and summer months. This is also the time that puts road construction workers at increased workplace injury risks. Along with the typical dangers posed by the equipment these workers use in the course of their work, they are further threatened by traffic moving through the work zone.